By Duncan Bech, PA
England and Exeter centre Henry Slade has clarified comments he made about refusing to take the coronavirus vaccination on the grounds he is healthy.
Slade, a Type-1 diabetic, told the Daily Telegraph on Thursday: “I am not going to have a vaccine. I don’t agree with it all. I don’t think you can trust it, can you? There is no way of knowing what could happen with it in the future”.
The 28-year-old insists his remarks were not to be taken as opposition to the Government’s vaccine roll-out.
— Exeter Chiefs (@ExeterChiefs) May 28, 2021
“Not only as a professional sportsman, but also a person who has to closely monitor my health levels every day, I am acutely aware of the importance of vaccines and the role it plays in helping save lives,” he said in a statement released by Exeter.
“From my own personal experience, I have encountered issues in the past with the use of vaccines and I am continually wary around this area.
“That said, I have no hidden agenda against the current, nationwide roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccination programme.
“When the time comes for me to make an informed decision on whether or not I take up the option of having the vaccination, I will of course consider the thoughts of my family and friends, the latest Government advice, as well as all others around me.
“In no way whatsoever am I offering advice to the general public as to the pros and cons of the vaccination programme, everyone has a right to their own opinion on this matter, but given my past experiences, I wish to make the correct decision for myself.”
Slade, a double winner with Exeter last season, has won 38 caps for England since making his debut in 2015 and has been a regular in Eddie Jones’ starting XV since the 2019 World Cup.
However, he has been overlooked for a place on the British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa this summer.